It has always been the case that some students with the most to lose in states with extreme right-wing regimes — students who are LGBT, Black, Latino, women in general — have likely chosen not to go to places like Alabama, Mississippi and the like because they are afraid of what might happen to them in that kind of atmosphere.
(Sports scholarships and winning records can blunt some, but not all, of that in recruiting incoming elite athletes. But we know some of those upper tier athletes choose to go to schools in states that align more with their progressive values.)
I wonder how many high-value students, academically and athletically, have decided against going to school in my own home state of Nebraska because right-wing goon and presumed Opus Dei idiot Pete Ricketts has been governor?
With its excellent academic and music programs, Oberlin College in Ohio seemed like a perfect fit for Nina Huang, a California high school student who plays flute and piano and hopes to eventually study medicine or law.
But Huang, 16, said she crossed the college off her application list after Ohio enacted a near-total ban on abortion last month. She now plans to cast a wider net for schools in states with less restrictive laws.
“I don’t want to go to school in a state where there is an abortion ban,” she said.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion nationwide has some students rethinking their higher education plans as states rush to ban or curtail abortion, according to interviews with 20 students and college advisers across the country.
While it has long been the case that some students hesitated to attend schools in places with different political leanings than their own, recent moves by conservative states on issues such as abortion and LGBTQ+ rights have deepened the country’s polarization.
For some students, the restrictions raise fears that they won’t be able to get an abortion if they need one or that they will face discrimination for gender differences. Others said they worried about facing racial prejudice or being politically ostracized.
“I’m only in high school right now, and I’m still finding out who I am,” said Samira Murad, 17, who will be a senior this fall at Stuyvesant High School in New York. “I don’t want to move somewhere I can’t be myself because of laws put in place.”
I think the GOP is mistaken if they don’t think young people think about these issues. And the Democrats are stupid if the Biden administration doesn’t do something, even if it’s partially symbolic, to show that President Biden and the people who work for him are as panicked about the future as young people are today.